Budget Speech - Mr Morian—20143113 04 Sep, 2014
Mr. Morian: First of all, Mr. Speaker, let me thank God for this opportunity again that I can be another year to address matters concerning Budget 2014
I know for sure that the budget will not be able to address the expectations of everyone, but there are some fundamentals and gaps which I will seek to address and also to add recommendations. I would like to address issues in Region 10, primarily our indigenous people in Berbice River, Rockstone, Riversview and by extension the entire Guyana.
I want to address the economic situation... [Mr. Seeraj: You used to live in Rockstone...] ...the last time I saw a mouth like that it had a hook inside brother, so be quiet. I need to address... [Interruption] I need to address the economic situation in Region 10 and be able to offer recommendations... [Interruption] I heard you my good friend.
I wish to start with the Indigenous People in the Berbice River. I wish to highlight some of the gaps and the fundamentals that the budget did not address. I am not here to rage a war against the budget, but I am here to offer recommendations for gaps that are exposed. I hope that the other side will take on board these recommendations in good faith. Before I do that, I would need to highlight what these gaps are to this honourable House.
The Indigenous People of the Berbice River, Rock Stone, ltuni, Riversview, Coomacka, Waruni, just to highlight a few of these communities. They lack basic infusion of finances for sustainable livelihood. I remember recently, in these communities that wells were sunk. What they are not having is value for in Region 10. If one goes and check those wells right now, they are functioning. By extension, in Amelias Ward a well was sunk three years ago that well also is not functioning.
Mr. Speaker, the Indigenous People are faced with food security problems. They do not have the knowledge of agronomy and integrated pest management; they are plagued with crop destruction from wild animals and transportation issues to get their produce markets. The amenities for Amerindians in Region 10 are total lacking.
[Mr. Speaker left the Chair.]
[Mr. Deputy Speaker assumed the Chair.]
Mr. Deputy Speaker, poverty is a serious issue among Indigenous communities in Region 10. What is most troubling is that young people are migrating from these areas. In the Budget of 2013, I recognise the Amerindian Development Fund; in excess of $3.9 million was spent. Under this same heading for 2014, I now sees $1.1 billion. It is iniquitous and is bordering on madness to spend $1.1 billion dollars on line items. I have never seen this in all my 5 years plus of project management and accounting that $1.1 billion will be spent just on line items.
My recommendation for the Indigenous People in Region 10 to counter the line item approach to the development of the Indigenous People is a National Amerindian Development Programme. This is my recommendation. The Amerindians in Region 10, and by extension the Amerindians in Guyana, need a National Amerindian Development Programme, where the following can be established: broad objectives in a holist manner, strategies could be outline, impacts, measurable indicators could be established, time schedules; a programme logical framework could be established, these are necessities if we want to take the Amerindian community forward.
I need to pause here. How many of us in this House will trade places from where we are living with the Indigenous People in Region 9 or Region 7? I am aware that the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs is working, but the approaches are anachronistic, unrealistic and do not give efficacy to Amerindian development in this country.
My call for an Amerindian Development Programme is not an outlandish one. Australia has an Aboriginal Communities Development Programme that is functioning right now. The United Nations have an Indigenous Peoples Partnership Framework, which is a programme that addresses Indigenous People’s development. It cannot be done piecemeal. Government builds a school or a playground there. It cannot be done in that manner.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, even the International Federation of Agricultural Development have a Indigenous Peoples Sustainable Development Programme; India has a development programme, the United States has one; Brazil, who is next door has one. I call on this House, this is one of the gaps and I am calling on the Government side to fill it. This is one of the areas I feel is necessary if we are going to develop Amerindians in this country. [Mr. Nandlall: Are you talking for the Amerindian now?] Yes, Amerindians form part of Region 10 Sir.
I wish to turn my attention to Region 10 proper and to address some of the issues. Not only address some of the issues, I wish to offer again, recommendations for development and economic upward mobility in Region 10. I need to posit or share here that I did have a good talk with the Hon. Minister Benn because I am looking for approaches and initiatives to fill the gaps. The issues in Region 10 are: unemployment, limited circulation of cash, the budget does not point to a fresh injection of capital in Region 10, the Budget does not address any new investment in Region 10. Hence, the situation will remain the same or get worst. As I said I did approach the Hon. Minister Mr. Benn because I am discussing Region 10 and I am looking for initiatives for the way forward and he gave me the assurance that the work in 2014 - I have no reason to doubt - the staff that would be used will be coming from Region 10. [Mr. T. Williams: What! Did you believe him?] Well I believe him so far, I have no reason to doubt, but the proof of the pudding is left in the tasting.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, if you look at the 2014 Budget, as I said earlier, one is looking for initiatives to turn things around. I am hearing concerning a whole lot of other things, but when you are speaking about economic development, what has brought us to 2013, based on what is happening in Region 10, there need be new initiatives and there are none. But this does not mean that Region 10 do not have opportunities for investment. I need to take us there right now.
In Region 10, Buyers Report from London speaks of the high demand for Kaolin. For those who do not know, Report Buyer is a reputable marketing agency worldwide, with headquarters in London. This was their report; you can check it on the internet. All of us are connected there. They say that the demand for Kaolin will rise 3.45% thru 2015 and this represents 28.4 million metric tonnes. Mr. Deputy Speaker, we have opportunity in Region 10 for investment in Kaolin. Mr. Finance Minister, Hon. Minister Sir, this is a gap that needs to be filled. Kaolin is found in Linden, Ituni and Kwakwani. You need to know that China, the United States and our neighbour Venezuela are also buying Kaolin.
We have laurite, but let me look at silica sand in Region 10. Demand by 2016 is tabulated at 278 million metric tonnes. This is Region 10; someone was not listening. Buyers and markets are already lining up to purchase, but somehow I wonder if there is a deliberate attempt to under develop Region 10? Why do I ask this question? If the opportunities are there and the opportunities are not being made use of, then something sinister is a foot. I believe in time and I believe in changes and I want to say in this House, at this juncture to everyone, remember Nuremberg... If you do not know where Nuremberg is, sorry. I will explain after.
I see agriculture in Region 10 is very important. What I do not see is the investment initiatives coming to Region 10. Vokaty and Associates did a study in Region 10; this study was made available to the Government. Hence, I am not just pulling this out of the air. Year after year this report is sent to various places – Office of the President, Ministry of Agriculture and various places because this study pointed out the areas of Region 10 that are ripe for agricultural development. But in the 2014 Budget nothing is there [An Hon. Member: [Inaudible]] I will find out and let you know. Mr. Deputy Speaker, I seem to be distracted by a comedian, but I will take it with grace.
I want to know, right here right now, what is happening in Guyana and Region 10? What is in the physique of the Government against the peoples of Region 10? Because here is another opportunity for development – agriculture, there are so many farmers lining up to do things in Region 10, but do you know what we get in Region 10? We got a Minister that came to Region 10 with a black plastic bag and says to the officers, “Do not share it until I am gone.” [Ms. Teixeira: Who said that? Name the Minister.] Ask me after the session.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am happy that I have cause such a ruckus in the House. I seem to be mashing some corns Mr. Minister. But if their corns got mashed I think they should say ouch... [Interruption]
I need to look back; one thing missed me as it relates to the Indigenous People. Twenty ninth January, 2013, a case was called in the High Court...
Ms. Teixeira: Mr. Deputy Speaker, the Hon. Member has made an accusation - a Minister who is unnamed. I would like to ask the Member, since he has made a very sweeping comment that he named... [Ms. Wade: He is a priest.] He is not a priest in this House; he is a Member of Parliament in this House. We were not elected as priest; we were elected as Members of Parliament.
I would like to ask that the Member be asked to name which Minister did such a thing. Name the Minister; that is all I am asking.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member you would recall that a precedent similar to this one occurred and the objection was taken I think by you yourself that a Member could not ask another Member any questions during the debates.
Ms. Teixeira: I am not the Speaker Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I will follow that precedent because we do not know what kind of Minister he is talking about. [Interruption] I know that the Hon. Member is a Minister himself, but I would say Hon. Member that you move on with your presentation.
Ms. Teixeira: Mr. Deputy Speaker, according to Standing Order 41 – Content of Speeches, sub-clause 6:
“No Member shall impute improper motive to any Member of the Assembly.”
Can I ask that the person be named Sir?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Mdm. Teixeira, this is the ruling, one - I am familiar with that Standing Order, no one has been named so there is no question of any crime being imputed to anyone. I asked the Member to continue with his presentation. [Interruption] I would advise that you take notice of the ... [Interruption]
Mr. Morian: Mr. Deputy Speaker, the churches in Linden have 120 ministers...
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member you have five minutes to complete your presentation.
Mr. Morian: Mr. Deputy Speaker, let me wrap up. I just want to say that the churches in Linden have 120 ministers. In the 2014 Budget Estimates, under the following ministries and offices, there are funding under the Ministry of Finance, reference # 1900400 – “Basic Needs Trust Fund” and the Ministry of Agriculture reference # 2801400 – “Rural Enterprise Agriculture Development”. I would appreciate very much where these funding are under these ministries; that the guidelines to access these funds are made known to this House. I would like to know under these funding Sir, the guidelines to access these funds. If there are application forms to be made, who are the contact persons that need to be contacted for Members of this House to access these funds?
In closing, my recommendation remains the same: A National Amerindian Development Programme to move the indigenous people forward. I also recommend that the natural resources in Region 10 are well able to move Region 10 forward if the Government exercises the will to bring those kinds of investments. I also posit here that the state of affairs in Region 10 is because of the Government highhandedness and the way how they are dealing with Region 10. But I conclude that we shall overcome. God bless. [Applause]
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